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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
For any good seeker of truth – mark my expression, for any good seeker of truth, in the Indian context particularly, renunciation is natural and indispensable. Only in the life of renunciation, the pursuit of truth and the culmination of that pursuit can be successfully had, gloriously had. Whenever a person is able to pursue truth and complete his pursuit, it automatically brings in a very unique position for the seeker. It is a state and a life of fulfillment. His life will become full, and when anything becomes full, it starts overflowing, and this overflowingness is inevitably associated with a life of dissemination. So, a seeker of truth naturally will have to be wholesome, and wholesomeness leads to renunciation, and the renunciate pursuit brings a fulfillment which begins to express itself in the form of dissemination. It is such pursuit, promotion, fulfillment, and dissemination that have resulted in the wonderful bequest that we have even today. It has been gained and passed on to the next generation. Every generation some people have always been there. This is one thought a good seeker should have.
Now, second point. Our personality has got two aspects. It is twofold, you can say. One is the gross, physical, matter-cum-energy aggregate called the body. But this matter-energy aggregate called the body, by itself can do nothing. This itself is shaped by a power and presence which are other than matter and energy. They are supra physical, supra material and supra energial. That is why we call it a spiritual presence. This spiritual presence is the one which expresses itself functionally as the mind, intelligence, and ego. So, in the twofold personality that we have, the external gross physical matter-energy aggregate called the body, is only one. The other one is the inner personality consisting of mind, intelligence, and ego. A seeker proceeds to seek from the level of his mind, or from the level of intelligence, or preferably, from the levels of both. The mind needs peace, contentment. The intelligence needs knowledge and the ecstasy and fulfillment of knowledge. So, in the Upanishads you will find all these are clearly indicated. The first Upanishad that came to me and I happened to read was Mundakopanishad. In the Mundakopanishad, we are told of Sounaka, a very great householder. What does it mean? He must have had his Vedic learning. Subsequently, he married and became a householder, and he must have had children. Along with his household, physical, biological life, he also had a very good devout religious life, which consisted of Vedic hymns, chanting them, then rituals and ceremonies, occasional, daily, very special, etc., and a few decades passed. In spite of the long time that he passed, and also his faithful adherence to the Vedic life, he never found fulfillment. Because he could not find fulfillment, at the same time the body was ageing, he came to a point where he could not even perform further rituals, very difficult to muster the materials, sit in front of fire, hands are trembling, the smoke is disturbing; so, he found that even rituals he was not able to perform. A question arose in him. “If the ritualistic life is to be terminated in this manner, at the same time, I have had no development at all, by virtue of which, whether my rituals have reached their destination and the deities addressed by the rituals have been pleased, etc., what is this life?” So, he found a kind of a void in the whole of his life. The life itself has got two aspects. One is the secular biological life of the householder; another is the religious and austere life. One is religious, another is secular – secular and religious. So, feeling a strong sense of disappointment, dejection, and dismay, he shared his heart with people around. He could not get an answer at all. All people were sailing in the same boat. So, he decided to go to Angiras, about whom somebody mentioned to him.
Angiras was living as a hermit in a hermitage involved in the spiritual and philosophical pursuit. He goes there and prostrates before him. Getting up, he places an enquiry before Angiras.
By knowing which specifically shall I be able to know everything and all in full?
This is the enquiry he placed. Imagine! A householder, mature, who was full otherwise as a householder, and as a ritualist also he had a kind of fullness you can say, having completed the ritualistic life. So, emotionally as well as intellectually, he was not able to find the fulfillment or direction for his life. As far as he was concerned, it was not fulfilling. You cannot say it was wasteful, but it was able to reach him to a state of void, emptiness, or dejection. And this is what he submitted. Angiras took up the enquiry and said “Look, you have asked a very good point in the sphere of knowledge. I shall tell you”.
dve vidye veditavye - The knowledge to be gained is divided into two: parā caivāparā. One is called the superior, the greater, and the higher, and the other is called the lower, the inferior. What is the inferior? I was impatiently reading in Kolkata, sitting on my chair, keeping the book on the little table I had, in a small room. I said, knowledge itself is divided into two categories – inferior and superior, and what is this inferior? He said ṛgvedo yajurvedaḥ sāmavedo'tharvavedaḥ. Bah, all the holy Vedas are included! ṛk, yajus, sāma, and atharva. And then there were six sastras. The sastras were etymology, astronomy, grammar, and all that. All the six sastras, these are included in the aparā vidya, the inferior vidya. If it is stretched properly, all the different branches of knowledge that we have in the schools, colleges, universities, and research centers, mathematics, physics, chemistry, sociology, anthropology, atomic science, nuclear science, medicinal science, all will be included in the aparā vidyā. Then what is this parā vidyā?
Bah! The superior knowledge is that by which tad akṣaram adhigamyate, that Imperishable is known, Imperishable is known. And what is this akṣaram? What is this Imperishable?
The very wise people say that it is invisible. It has got no lakshanas, etc. etc. And finally he says, “That is the One, the very Source of everything, which penetrates everything, permeates everything, pervades everything. That is the One. That is the One.”
bhūtayoniṁ paripaśyanti dhīrāḥ - They see this as the Source of all creation including the panchabhutas. Now this is the way Mundakopanishad introduces the superior knowledge. Now, any intelligent student reading this book, what will he understand, I am wondering. He should understand (that) the Upanishadic life, the ascetic life, the renunciational life is one which is totally devoted to, in a wholesome manner, in an austere ascetic manner, to the knowledge of the Imperishable. And what is this Imperishable? The very Source of everything.
When it comes to Nachiketas, in the Kathopanishad, he says something different. He saw the father doing rituals and in an insincere manner. So, as a young boy, he was affected deeply. His emotions were hurt, and he was asking, when it comes to a question of leaving, there is an emotional question. You are not able to leave. You possess everything. “To whom are you going to give me?” He said, “I am giving you to the God of Death.” And with the same emotional fervour, he went to the God Yama and engaged him in a conversation, and he wanted to know whether there is anything called the spirit, animating and activating the body. When can this spirit be understood? How? So, death is a point which makes you enquire about it. The active body suddenly becomes inactive. The body is intact but its activity is gone. “So what is the source which causes activity and animation in the body, I wanted to know.” And Yama answers him. That is a little emotional to begin with but it is investigational later on. Now this is the type of the Upanishads that we have.
So, I wanted to tell you that from the inner personality, for the sake of having sufficient peace, contentment, delight, and fulfillment for the mind, and also to have fulfillment for the intelligence and enquiring intelligence – for both, spirituality is the answer. Now, having come to know that this is our spiritual treasure, the philosophical source, I don’t know what anyone – either from the level of the mind seeking peace and contentment, or from the level of the intelligence seeking knowledge, the ultimate truth, whether he can have any option at all, I am wondering. How beautifully the whole theme is presented there. It is not a pursuit for the foolish. It is not a pursuit for the weak. It is a pursuit for the most intelligent and research oriented individual.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.